Washington, D.C. -- In a letter to President George W. Bush, Senator Daniel K. Akaka today expressed his understanding about the VA's decision to increase the veterans' copayment for prescription drugs from $7 to $8. The increase is permitted by regulations and commensurate with pharmaceutical inflation, but Senator Akaka wants to ensure that veterans who are dependent on several medications won't financially suffer an even greater expense when the FY07 budget is released in February 2006.
Senator Akaka wrote:
"I am concerned that we may again receive a proposal in the upcoming budget request that seeks to double the drug copayment. The increase -- to charge $15 for needed prescription medications -- has been requested for the past three years. In light of this recent adjustment for inflation, it would be unfortunate to attempt another increase of out-of-pocket costs to veterans for needed prescription medications next year, especially given that the $1 increase will take effect in January 2006.
"Additionally, there is still no cap for middle-income veterans on these costs, and the cap for lower-income veterans was also raised as part of this recent adjustment. It is more important than ever that we work to limit the growth of these expenses to veterans. These men and women have earned the right to affordable health care and drugs through their service to our country.
"Mr. President, I respectfully request that you to take these factors into consideration as the FY07 budget is formulated. Thank you."
Senator Akaka is the Ranking Member on the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs.